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Elbert Washington Jr. was born on April 26, 1943 to Mr. Elbert Washington Sr. and Mrs. Johnnie Mae Washington in Birmingham, AL. He was the third child of six children.
Elbert, affectionately called “Brain” by loved ones, grew up around the Fowler (his father’s) and Thomas (his mother’s) side of his family in the Edgewater community. He was nicknamed Brain because he seemed to know everything.
Edgewater was a close knit community where families were friends across generations. Elbert and his entire family were members of Evening Star Baptist Church in Edgewater, Alabama. Elbert was baptized by Reverend C. H. Denson early in his life.
Elbert had a happy childhood. He enjoyed spending time with his family (helping his parents and interacting with his siblings). On many occasions, Elbert could be found chasing his little sister around the house, fixing his little brother’s bike, and taking his younger siblings to the store and football practice.
Elbert attended Edgewater Jr. High School from the 1st-9th grade, and then went to Westfield High School from 10-12th grade. He graduated from Westfield High School in 1961.
Elbert was very athletic. In high school, he excelled at football and many said he was the best roller skater in Edgewater. His passion for health and physical activity is evident in his life choices. Prior to moving to Chicago, IL, he attended Miles College and studied Physical Education.
Elbert left Birmingham and moved to Chicago in 1962 to stay with his Aunt Ella and look for work. After arriving in Chicago, he soon relocated to East Chicago, IN to work at Inland Steel Company. After a few years he moved to Joliet, IL to work alongside his father at US Steel.
Moving to Joliet changed Elbert’s life. It was in Joliet where he met the love of his life, Helen Thompson. They met through a mutual friend who worked at a credit union where Elbert banked. Elbert and Helen were married for 40+ years and joyfully raised their three children; Michelle, Karla, and Dino.
Elbert was a family man. He was faithful and loving and there is nothing he would not do for his family. When his family was asked what they would say about Elbert, the response was—he was the best father and grandfather ever created.
The scripture “raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart” greatly applied to Elbert. Being raised in the admiration of the Lord, in his later life, he continued to pray daily and shared his love for the scriptures with everyone he came into contact with.
Elbert was a member of St. Mark Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church for about 20 years. He was a steward at St. Mark and made significant contribution to the church through his service, financially (ex. helping to secure a loan for the church and in deed (ex. visiting residents at local nursing homes).
Elbert lived a life of love and service. Loving and serving his family, church, and community. Even after retiring from UNV-VEN 76 Oil Refinery, he took up a position as a bus driver for special needs children within Joliet’s school district.
Elbert was known for many things, being a hard worker, a family man, a giver of good advice, person who loved people and loved fixing things. One thing that was apparent by just looking at him—Elbert knew how to dress. He was “sharp” a meticulous dresser. Elbert loved and cared for his family, his church family, and his community. He will be greatly missed, and his legacy will be cherished forever.
Elbert was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Helen Washington; his brother, Charles B. Washington Sr. and his sister, Carol J. Wesley. He transitioned from this life alongside his daughter, Michelle "Shelly" Weithers on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. He leaves behind two children, Karla Weithers and Mitchell "Dino" Weithers, both of Joliet, IL. He also leaves one sister, Constelene (Robert) Dunn, Birmingham, AL, two brothers, Leonard (Juanita) Washington, Birmingham, AL; Robert Washington, Joliet, IL; grandchildren Rev. Marcus (Jasmine) Jones, Ryauna Jelks , Kayla Williams, and Cabria Griffin, great grandchildren, Kylie and Kaiden Booker, Jace Autman, and Kodda and Krillyn Williams and a host of other nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.